TV series

Mr. Khan’s Review on Ishq Hai – LAST EPISODE (2021)

A review on Pakistani drama TV series, Ishq Hai – Last Episode (2021). The new TV series is directed by Aabis Raza and written by Rehana Aftab. Ishq Hai is an ARY Digital Production.

(Note: If you’ve already read the review of the previous episode, you can skip directly ahead to the High points section).

+ Crew

  • Directed by Aabis Raza
  • Written by Rehana Aftab
  • DOP by Waqas Ali
  • OST composed by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Editing by Zeeshan Ali Jokhio
  • Produced by Fahad Mustafa & Dr. Ali Kazmi

+ Note

Ishq Hai is a tale of two lovers, a Shakespearean tragedy set in South Asia where the conflict between tradition and individual freedom comes into play. An age long question within our Pakistani culture; should the tradition of arranged marriage be questioned? How important is the right to choose your own life partner? The drama has a star studded cast of young and veteran actors and is an exclusive ARY Digital Production.

 + Main Cast

  1. Minal Khan as Isra
  2. Danish Taimoor as Shahzaib
  3. Hammad Farooqi as Hammad
  4. Babar Ali as Isra’s father
  5. Hammad Shoaib as Haris
  6. Saba Faisal as Nafisa
  7. Mahi Baloch as Sameera
  8. Sajjad Paul as Raza
  9. Mahenur Haider as Nimra

+ Plot

Isra and Shahzaib are the young lovers in conflict with their respective families. Their parents have already found a spouse for them. Arranged marriage has been a family tradition but against all odds, Isra and Shahzaib want to fight for their love. Will their pure love be able to conquer all?   

MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!! (There will be spoilers throughout this review so If you would like to avoid it, please skip to the Overall section):

+ High Points

i – It was fitting to see that Isra’s family was there to support whatever decision she had in mind for her future. Compared to how her brother and family reacted to the earlier episodes to now, there seems to be obvious progression in character development. Instead of staying as innocent bystanders, her family actively supported Isra in her time of need and were with her all the way to the end. And that is refreshing to see on Pakistani television.

+ Low Points

i – The conclusion to the show is exactly how you would expect it to be. It is what it is. A melodramatic, paint by the numbers show with zero originality and creativity behind it. Shahzaib is remorseful, there is some resistance from Isra but finally, she accepts him back. All is forgiven. And thankfully, this show is finally over.

ii – It is utterly tragic how they ended the Nimra and Haris dilemma. Will they finally grow up and learn that you cannot obtain everything you desire in Life and that love should come from both of the individuals involved in a relationship? No, of course not! Haris is left dying in the hospital bed while Nimra commited suicide! What a pathetic way to resolve this issue! Rehana Aftab’s writing has undoubtedly been the WORST aspect of this show and this just proves this fact even further.

Let the characters learn from their mistakes and move on with their lives. Give your younger viewers an opportunity to learn that there is more to life than marriage and lust for unattainable needs. Shahzaib’s mother Nafisa got her redemption arc, she had the luxury to learn from her past mistakes but not Nimra or Haris? Wasn’t Nafisa’s evil deeds the worst of them all? Torturing her own son to maintain her dominance over her children? This is a prime example of how absurd and morally devoid this show is.

iii – If you thought this show had too many slow motion, time wasting scenes, the last two episodes just takes the cake. Every few sentences is accompanied by pointless slow motion scenes where the character contemplates on the two sentences he or she just spoke or heard. This could have easily been one single final episode but of course, just for TV time and advertisement sponsors, they had to prolong it to two.

iv – The finale is lackluster because every single viewer can imagine how it is going to end. Every single plot thread, every character’s issues with Isra or Shahzaib get immediately resolved because the script demanded it to and not in a natural progression like any other skillful screenplay. Isra’s sister in law pestered her throughout the show but has finally learned her lesson. Why now? She never believed that Isra was ever innocent for any other actions, what made this instance so special? 

v – Sajjad Paul as Raza (Shahzaib’s brother) got a lot more screen time in these last two episodes where his single purpose was to literally narrate every single moment that was being displayed on screen. Yes, we know your mother is remorseful for her past actions, you really don’t need to painstakingly repeat what we are witnessing on our television screens. 

+ Overall and Final Thoughts on Ishq Hai

This was undoubtedly the worst Pakistani TV show I have ever seen from start to finish. The plot was dramatic, recycled garbage that we have seen on Indian and Pak TV time and time again, all of the characters in the show had two dimensional personalities, there was absolutely nothing original or creative in its writing, the performances were purposefully, overly melodramatic, distancing itself any sort of reality that we live in and worst of all, Ishq Hai just proved that they had absolutely no intention of putting any effort into making an original show. The female representation was once again terrible, highly influenced by “saas/ bahou” dramas of India. Let us also not forget that our protagonist drugged, kidnapped and forcefully married Isra. How can this ever be normalised is beyond my comprehension of human decency!

Due to lack of substantial content, the show creators resorted to abusing slow motion to death so that it prolongs the life and duration of the show (not to mention the unnatural use of the title song throughout its 38 episodes!). Minor praise can be given to the production team, costumes and set designs as their efforts are very evident onscreen. Unlike many other shows out there, the wedding scenes felt authentic with a large number of extras and the scenes played well at times with light and silhouettes. 

Watching a show like Ishq Hai depresses me to no end because I know that our country can produce much better quality content than this. We have young talented filmmakers out there who do not have to look at Indian Soap Operas for inspiration (or better yet, take inspiration from Indian Independent cinema!). Pakistan is blessed with creative minds and acting talent, its high time we start using it to its full potential. At the end of the day, Ishq Hai is yet another blemish on the face of Pakistani television which will be replaced by yet another “Ishq Hai” with recycled plot and terrible performances. My only request for content creators and financiers of Pakistani dramas; do not undermine the intelligence of your viewers and give them something meaningful to watch. No doubt television can highly influence its audience, why not something worthwhile that could eradicate the faults of society like oppression of women or respecting a different point of view? But at this point in time, it’s sadly just wishful thinking.

 Rate (Last Episode):  out of 5 stars

Overall Series Rating: out of 5 stars 

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